One of my Heros: Dale Murphy

I’ve always been a sports fan. I grew up in the early days of cable television, back when it meant you had 12 channels. One of those channels for us was WTBS, and I spent many summers watching Atlanta Braves baseball in the early 80’s. During this time the Braves were often pretty bad, but there was one bright spot – Dale Murphy. His coming up to bat was often the most exciting thing about the Braves. My mom probably felt that there must be about 20 Dale Murphy’s on the team because every time she asked me to do something I would say something like, “just a minute, Murphy is up next”. He was easily my favorite person in the world at that point, and I had no idea he was LDS until an uncle of mine told me he was.
 

When I was waiting to receive my mission call, I was wondering about all the possibilities of where I might go. My father was a geography teacher who had served a mission to Australia, served in the peace corp in Tanzania Africa, had visited Brazil, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union on fellowship grants so I had some yearning to go somewhere special. When I took the language aptitude test the brother who administered it told me that it was one of the highest scores he had seen, and that I would probably go somewhere like Japan. When my call came I found out that I was being sent to Atlanta Georgia. I was disappointed at first but then thought that I might be able to meet Dale Murphy. Which I did on several occasions.

Brother Murphy is an impressive individual who is an outstanding member of the church. His wife is impressive as well. I understand that he has since served as a mission president in Boston. One of the highlights of my mission is having him shake my hand and say, “Hi Elder Nielson”. It was not until later that I realized that I did not have my name tag on that day (forgetful me).

Now for the sports. Why is Dale Murphy not talked about more as a standout mormon athlete and as a potential Hall of Famer in baseball? I realize that his statistics are borderline for the Hall of fame in many areas, but he is often not even in the discussions for the Hall of Fame. Only he and Roger Maris have earned MVP honors twice and not been selected to the HofF. And Murphy was a better all around player. He also had 5 gold glove awards, and was a 7 time all star. He played during a time when 400 home runs was considered a lock for the HofF, and he hit 398. He was also a rare 30-30 man. All this makes him a borderline member I believe, and if character issues are important enough to keep Pete Rose out of the Hall of Fame, shouldn’t outstanding character be able to get a borderline HoFer in?

I wonder if the media is keeping him out. When women were first allowed to go into locker rooms apparently Brother Murphy protested because of privacy/modesty issues. His form of protest was to not give interviews to anyone inside the locker room. The sports media is kind of fickle, could this be part of the reason he is not getting more support for the Hall? Is there something we could reasonably do to get more support for Dale Murphy in terms of Hall of Fame induction?

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3 Responses to “One of my Heros: Dale Murphy”


  1. 1 Ian December 17, 2005 at 3:20 am

    I grew up in Georgia in the 80s and Dale Murphy was one of my heros at the time too. I never did meet him, but I do have his autograph somewhere. I did go to a few ball games as well.

    I always admired him, anytime there was a fight he would be out there trying to break it up. He got punched for doing this too.

    As for him not getting a HOF nomination, I don’t know the reason.

    I would imagine that it’s because he is pretty humble and meek, he has never been one to toot his own horn or anything. If he doesn’t have someone lobbying for him (which I am willing to bet some of these guys do) then, because he is one of these borderline guys, he might get overlooked. I am sure that he deserves it.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson December 17, 2005 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for your comments ian. I was beginning to wonder if there were any sports fans out there.


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